Yellen helps shore up markets

LONDON (AP) — Jitters over the valuations of technology companies weighed on markets on Wednesday until fairly dovish remarks from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen helped shore up the mood.

Investors in Internet company shares remained cautious after sharp drops the day before. Twitter’s share price fell another 3.8 percent after an 18 percent plunge the day before.

European and U.S. markets were somewhat more stable amid hopes that Russia was softening its stance over Ukraine, which has become increasingly unstable as pro-Russian militants clash with military forces.

The improving market backdrop was reinforced when Yellen told Congress’ Joint Economic Committee that she expects low borrowing rates to remain a “considerable time.”

Britain’s FTSE 100 closed flat at 6,796.44 while Germany’s DAX was up 0.7 percent at 9,534.06. The CAC-40 in France rose 0.4 percent to 4,446.44.

In the U.S., the Dow was 0.6 percent higher at 16,499 while the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to 1,875. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was 0.6 percent lower at 4,056.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 stock index sank 2.9 percent to 14,033.45 as the U.S. dollar’s relative weakness against the Japanese yen hit exporter shares. It was the first day of trading in Japan after a long weekend.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi lost 1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent. Shares in Australia, Singapore, China, India and Taiwan fell while Indonesian and New Zealand shares edged higher.

In other markets, benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up $1.19 to $100.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currency trading, the euro slipped 0.1 percent to $1.3915 while the dollar was steady against the Japanese yen, at 101.71 yen.